Heritage, nuclear waste & the future…

23:08 by Cornelius Holtorf

Cornelius Holtorf gave a keynote lecture on the topic “Cultural heritage, nuclear waste and the future: what’s in it for us?” for more than 50 participants attending a symposium on “Bewaren of weggooien?” [To keep or to let go?], held by Zeeuwse Ankers at COVRA near Middelburg, Netherlands (13 April 2019). A report about the day is now available here (in Dutch) and here (in English).

In the lecture he argued that many people might like to preserve precious cultural heritage for the benefit of future generations but are more than willing to let go of our present abundance of nuclear waste with its inherent risks to human health. But we may just as well look at this the other way around. Cultural heritage is not scarce and poses many risks to human wellbeing, as it has often been playing a significant role in intensifying bloody cultural conflicts. Nuclear waste, on the other hand, may very well emerge as a precious resource, e.g. when it helps future generations to learn about the history of nuclear power and the emergence and successes of the environmental movement. In the presentation, he also give concrete examples for mutual benefits to be gained from both sectors collaborating and discussed the significance of such collaboration for reaching sustainable development goals in the future.


Cornelius Holtorf
In 2017, Linnaeus University in Kalmar, Sweden, was awarded a UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures. This is one of eight Chairs in Sweden, and the only one within the cultural sector. Cornelius Holtorf, holder of the UNESCO Chair, alongside his team, will continue to generate ideas through this forum.

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